Bulletin News

Character Educator Hal Urban to Share Ideas


Good teachers have high standards and expectations, teach manners and the Golden Rule, and tell good stories, says best-selling author and award-winning educator Hal Urban.

Urban will talk about his strategies for effective character education during a daylong workshop for educators on Friday, Nov. 4, at SUNY Cortland.

He also will lecture to SUNY Cortland students, faculty and staff on Thursday, Nov. 3.

Both events are presented by the School of Education’s Center for the 4th & 5th Rs (Respect and Responsibility), a character education center devoted to advancing the “smart and good” schools vision throughout schools in this country and abroad.

In his talk and workshop, both titled “Lessons From the Classroom: 10 Things Good Teachers Do,” Urban will discuss the characteristics that good teachers possess.

On Friday, Nov. 4, Urban’s full day workshop will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Park Center Hall of Fame Room.

Registration, which includes lunch, is $99. The deadline to register has been extended until Thursday, Oct. 27. The registration form and more information is available on the Center’s website at www.cortland.edu/character or by calling the center at (607) 753-2455.                 

Two of Urban’s books, Lessons from the Classroom and Life’s Greatest Lessons, will be available for purchase at the workshop.

While visiting campus, Urban also will offer his insights on education to more than 150 SUNY Cortland students who are training to become educators. The event, which is free and open to faculty, staff and other SUNY Cortland students, will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, in Sperry Center, Room 204.

Urban, an award-winning teacher, author and international speaker whose workshops are in demand by educators in grades kindergarten through 12, shares his strategies for fostering a caring classroom community. Urban says that good teachers:

• help their students to both own and honor the rules.

• create a caring community.

• protect the classroom atmosphere from toxic words.

• use the power of visible reminders.

• inspire their students to set goals, and,

• form a partnership with parents.

Urban primarily gears his talks to teachers of every grade level, students of all ages, and parents. He also speaks to people in business, health care, service organizations and places of worship. On the speaking circuit since 1995, he has traveled more than two million miles, and made more than 1,000 presentations in 40 states and six foreign countries. Once he delivered a keynote address in the Great Hall of the People at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China.

Urban was a teacher for 36 years. He taught at high schools in northern California and part time at his alma mater, the University of San Francisco (USF). He won numerous awards at both levels, including the Character Center’s National Educator of the Year award in 1999. Students at USF awarded him the Lifelong Learning Award in 1988 and the Most Supportive Professor Award in 1990. Urban won a Distinguished Teacher Award at San Carlos High and was Teacher of the Year twice at Woodside High.

In 2005, he was presented with the Sanford N. McDonnell Lifetime Achievement Award in Character Education at the Character Education Partnership’s National Forum in Atlanta, Ga.

Urban grew up in the northern California town of Redding and attended college on an academic/athletic scholarship. At USF, he made the Dean’s Honor Roll every semester, played Division I basketball, was a student body officer, and president of his fraternity.

Urban continued his education at USF, earning a California teaching credential, a master’s degree in history and a doctorate in education. He completed post-doctoral work in the psychology of peak performance at Stanford University.

Urban raised three sons as a single father. He lives in Redwood City, Calif., with his wife, Cathy. For more information, visit his web site at www.halurban.com.

The Center for the 4th and 5th Rs was founded in 1994 by psychologist Thomas Lickona, a professor of childhood/early childhood education and published author of eight books on character development and moral behavior. The Center promotes the smart and good schools vision of character education, whose mission is to integrate excellence and ethics, that is, to develop performance character — doing one’s best work — and moral character — doing the right thing — within an ethical learning community.

The center’s Smart and Good Schools Summer Institutes have trained more than 4,500 principals, teachers and other educators from 35 states and 20 countries. The center publishes Excellence and Ethics: The Education Letter of the Smart and Good Schools Initiative, provides guidance and resources for assessment of character education, conducts research on character education, conducts on-site school and district trainings, and creates programs that help schools implement the center’s smart and good schools vision.